Medical Research

Can CBD Ease Diabetic Complications?

Written by Petar Petrov

Diabetes is a serious condition and claims regarding its treatment shouldn’t be made lightly, especially when it comes to something as relatively new in the wellness space as cannabidiol (CBD). Moreover, studies on CBD and diabetes are scarce and not without their limitations, the big one being that the ones with promising results are all still on rats.
With that being said, CBD has some of the makings to be at least an adjunct therapy for diabetes. CBD has shown the power to help the endocannabinoid system to keep our physiology balanced, which is already a great tool against many diseases. Better yet, it does so generally without side effects.
Let’s explore how CBD may directly help people with diabetes and alleviate the complications from the disease.



CBD has made a name for itself as an anti-inflammatory agent. Type 2 diabetes being a major source of inflammation as a result of insulin resistance and respectively the glucose build-up in the body, anti-inflammatory effect is certainly a way CBD can be of direct help to diabetics. In fact, in a study that focused specifically on CBD and glucose-induced inflammation, CBD displayed anti-inflammatory activity, judged by various markers of inflammation. [1] This gave researchers a reason to believe that CBD can attenuate the diabetes-induced damage on the walls of blood vessels.


Nerve Damage

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all people with diabetes have nerve damage. This is because high blood sugar damages nerves.
Even though CBD hasn’t been studied in the context of diabetes-induced nerve damage, it did show an ability to reduce nerve pain, along with inflammation, caused by osteoarthritis in rats. [2] In another study on experimental diabetes in rats it was found that CBD reduced neurotoxicity and inflammation in diabetic animals through activities that may involve the inhibition of p38 MAP kinase. [3]



Of course, preventative measures are generally the best course of action.
In a study on non-obese diabetic mice, CBD treatment lowered diabetes from 86% to 32%. However, “The direct effect of CBD on glucose load tests (i.e. 2 gr/kg i.p.) in BALB/c versus NOD mice showed no difference in treatment with saline compared to CBD. This result shows no direct effect of CBD on glucose levels in the blood.” [4]


Human Trials

Unfortunately, the one study that ticks all the major scientific scrutiny boxes – randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study on actual human subjects – didn’t deliver particularly promising results.
It examined both CBD and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) on 62 people with type 2 diabetes, and it was actually THCV that stole the show, while CBD didn’t lower blood glucose. [5]

Will CBD help you with diabetes? Likely to some extent, but almost certainly not enough to serve as the main therapy. However, it’s a perfect addition to holistic approach to treating diabetes, which in the worst-case scenario won’t do anything – good or harm.



[1] Rajesh et al, Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption, American Journal of Psychology, (2017); Vol. 293, No. 1; [Journal Impact Factor = 1.063] [Times Cited = 214]


[2] Philpot et al, Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis, Pain (2017); 158(12): 2442–2451, [Journal Impact Factor = 7.926]  [Times Cited = 190]


[3] El-Remessy, Neuroprotective and blood-retinal barrier-preserving effects of cannabidiol in experimental diabetes, Am J Pathol, (2006); 168(1):235-44; [Journal Impact Factor = 4.069] [Times Cited = 290]


[4] Weiss et al, Cannabidiol Arrests Onset of Autoimmune Diabetes in NOD Mice, Neuropharmacology (2008); 54(1): 244–249, [Journal Impact Factor = 5.251] [Times Cited = 134]


[5] Jadoon et al, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study, Diabetes Care (2016); 39(10):1777–1786, [Journal Impact Factor = 19.11] [Times Cited = 164]



About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.